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AW Admin
11-03-2017, 07:00 PM
I've noticed a lot of members enthusing about writing by hand, about using typewriters, about a love of paper, notebooks, journals and stationary. And I've noticed that a lot of us use journals to track our lives, to support our planning and writing, to jump start NaNoWriMo, or as bullet journals.

I'm finding, personally, that I use paper and pens and pencils as ancillary tools for my digital writing. There's always paper at hand whether I'm using my laptop or my iPad. I especially rely on paper and fountain pen for drafts, and for writing postcards and letters.

So here's a place to discuss analog tools, the pencils, pens, fountain pens, and paper we love, and how we use them in our lives and our writing.

What do you use? How do you use it?

Bufty
11-03-2017, 07:29 PM
I'm afraid, as an eighty-year-old I am one of those people who used a pen for the greater part of my life then found - with the advent of computers and e-mail and goodness knows what else - there no longer seemed to be any need to use one, except for Christmas and Birthday cards. I'm sure some folk don't even sign these!

I wrote letters home to my mum and dad in the late nineteen-sixties (on Basildon Bond, or Air Mail letters- the old folding type) while I was abroad. Prior to that, my twin sister wrote letters home from Australia, to where she had emigrated as a Nurse.

My family deed box has letters going back to the mid 1800's- one penned by an ancestor aboard an Australia bound ship and passed to another vessel somewhere enroute for delivery back to the UK. I have another hand-written letter from a descendant who ended up in the gold mines in Australia.

I wonder what written memories future families will have in their Deed Boxes. Precious little, I suspect, letter writing having been replaced by e-mails, instant photos and videos.

I do remember penning Christmas thank-you letters as a small boy -a Conway Stuart fountain pen, and drops of ink all over the place as I waved it around.

As a youngster, when I first joined a bank as a teenager, I loved to use a dip-in pen and write copperplate style, with lovely sweeping down strokes and gentle upswings. That lasted into the nineteen-sixties at least - then computers took over.

Nowadays? I can't remember the last newsy handwritten letter I received or the last one I penned. I think it was a short bereavement letter.

Regretfully, I now handwrite little beyond greetings cards. But I do love to use parchment paper when I print a small note to anyone. Love the crisp, crinkly feel of it.

My grandchildren write me occasional thank-you letters but I wonder if that, too, will stop when they become familiar with e-mail and stuff.

Look forward to seeing how many folk here still use dip-in or fountain pen for drafting.

All my writing and critiquing etc., is done on the PC, but I am sure it must be very satisfying to see a page of one's own neat handwritten script.

AW Admin
11-03-2017, 07:40 PM
I have terrible handwriting; my cursive is a poster child text-book example of typical dyslexic handwriting.

But I've found that using a fountain pen for drafting and planning gives my hands a break from the keyboard (carpal tunnel) and sometimes helps me think. (I need all the help I can get wrt to thinking . . . ).

I do send a lot of postcards; PM me if you want a postcard.

And I'm looking forward to sending holiday cards this year for Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice and joie de vivre; now picking the inks to use. There are so many reds and greens, and I'm contemplating glitter pens, even, or fountain pen ink with a shimmer effect (from glitter).

AW Admin
11-03-2017, 07:43 PM
I'm afraid, as an eighty-year-old I am one of those people who used a pen for the greater part of my life then found - with the advent of computers and e-mail and goodness knows what else - there no longer seemed to be any need to use one, except for Christmas and Birthday cards. I'm sure some folk don't even sign these!

In the U.S. people born after c. 1920 or so typically learned to write cursive via something called The Palmer Method; I'm contemplating buying a book of letter models and exercises to try to improve mine. I had to take paleography and choose to take calligraphy classes to make manuscript studies a bit easier, so I figure I could conceivably improve my handwriting.

I mostly print if I expect anyone else to be able to read it, but drafts for my eyes only are often longhand/cursive, and yes, using a fountain pen.

Filigree
11-03-2017, 08:06 PM
I no longer write cursive, but my pen handwriting is a neat italic print that I trained into during my teens. With a uniform tip pen it's readable and clean. With an ink calligraphy nib, it dresses up nicely. I usually get volunteered to 'write pretty' for work.

I still do *a lot* of paper drafts, sketches, lists, and the like. I've been worldbuilding in fiction for 34 years, and doing art for nearly as long. So I have mass quantities of paper to digitize and archive.

I love journals (I'm a book artist) but I don't tend to do 'real work' in them.

Ms.Pencila
11-03-2017, 08:13 PM
I like pretty handwriting, (or rather, just indulging in making big loops in cursive), but for some reason don't feel like writing by hand helps me creatively. (I suspsect that the problem lies in my inclination to hesitate over word choices when I'm writing slower-- typing doesn't eliminate that, but it does seem to help).

That said, I have something in between a true analog tool and a computer: a word processor. It's a relatively simple creature, like a calculator/keyboard that holds 8 files, and I find its streamlined focus (no internet, and a pretty limited thesaurus) very helpful for writing.

Cyia
11-03-2017, 08:19 PM
In the U.S. people born after c. 1920 or so typically learned to write cursive via something called The Palmer Method;

Is that the same as D'nealian? That's the method we were taught. (basically you learn to make the cursive letters, but without connecting them at first)

My handwriting is, and always has been, microscopic and atrociously formed. I used to get notes on my papers in school begging me to write larger and more legibly, but that was asking a lot when our class consisted of two full-length papers per day, due at the end of the class period.

I still write with pen and paper, sometimes longhand, but I've also got my own sort of short-hand that I'm not sure anyone else would be able to parse. It's a great way to unstick a stuck thought by engaging a different set of skills and manual dexterity.

JDlugosz
11-03-2017, 08:38 PM
In the U.S. people born after c. 1920 or so typically learned to write cursive via something called The Palmer Method; I'm contemplating buying a book of letter models and exercises to try to improve mine. I had to take paleography and choose to take calligraphy classes to make manuscript studies a bit easier, so I figure I could conceivably improve my handwriting.

I mostly print if I expect anyone else to be able to read it, but drafts for my eyes only are often longhand/cursive, and yes, using a fountain pen.

I have a good book for that; modern. It's discussed at FPN but I don’t recall the title. I made an effort to learn to write well after seeing a supervisor’s illegible scrawl.

onesecondglance
11-03-2017, 08:39 PM
I wonder what written memories future families will have in their Deed Boxes. Precious little, I suspect, letter writing having been replaced by e-mails, instant photos and videos.

Born in the 80s here: I don't even know what a deed box is... I mean, I can take a guess, but nope.

AW Admin
11-03-2017, 09:03 PM
Is that the same as D'nealian? That's the method we were taught. (basically you learn to make the cursive letters, but without connecting them at first)

D'nealian is descended from The Palmer Method (http://palmermethod.com/) (which was itself descended from and a response to ornate Spencerian script (http://spencerian.com/)).


I still write with pen and paper, sometimes longhand, but I've also got my own sort of short-hand that I'm not sure anyone else would be able to parse. It's a great way to unstick a stuck thought by engaging a different set of skills and manual dexterity.

I find that to be true as well; I don't know if it's because, while I've been using computers since I was a teen, I learned to compose with pen or pencil and paper, or if, as some research suggests, it's because of various complex inter relationships between handwriting and neurology (http://absolutewrite.com/2017/02/22/handwriting-is-it-part-of-your-process/).

lizmonster
11-03-2017, 09:04 PM
My handwriting is notoriously awful. I used to be able to write neatly when I tried, but that seems to have disappeared.

But I do carry a cheap pocket notebook in which I brainstorm. And I've collected journals for decades. I almost never use them anymore, but I can't resist a pretty or unusual one. (Got an Alice in Wonderland-themed Moleskine a couple of weeks ago.)

I have friends heavily into fountain pens, but I find I prefer gel pens or decent ball points (which are increasingly hard to find - I can't stand the clumping and skipping some of them do).

(Not born in the 80s, but also not familiar with the term "deed box" - is this essentially a firebox?)

Bufty
11-03-2017, 09:11 PM
My handwriting is notoriously awful. I used to be able to write neatly when I tried, but that seems to have disappeared.

But I do carry a cheap pocket notebook in which I brainstorm. And I've collected journals for decades. I almost never use them anymore, but I can't resist a pretty or unusual one. (Got an Alice in Wonderland-themed Moleskine a couple of weeks ago.)

I have friends heavily into fountain pens, but I find I prefer gel pens or decent ball points (which are increasingly hard to find - I can't stand the clumping and skipping some of them do).

(Not born in the 80s, but also not familiar with the term "deed box" - is this essentially a firebox?)

Just a big black metal box with a built-in lock. I guess the name comes from before the time of Safe Custody in banks and folks kept important documents and deeds at home in the Deed Box. Hid it up the chimney or under the floor boards or whatever. They come in all sizes. Ours also holds birth, death and marriage certificates going wa-a-a-ay back.

I write very neatly by the way- so did my dad- taught me how to hold a pen so you could write for ever with no strain.

AW Admin
11-03-2017, 09:12 PM
(Not born in the 80s, but also not familiar with the term "deed box" - is this essentially a firebox?)

It's UK usage; a deed box (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/deed-box) was originally a lockable box (in the US called a "strong box" or "lock box") that was often beautiful (people collect the antique ones (https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/tables/side-tables/1870s-metal-deed-box-allibhoy-vallijee-sons/id-f_354101/)) but used to store deeds or titles and other important papers, and today, yeah, roughly equivalent to a firebox.

Kitkitdizzi
11-03-2017, 09:35 PM
I'm a biologist and spend much of my summer living out of a hammock and backpack. I carry a Moleskin notebook and use mechanical pencils because ink smears when it gets wet (I tried Rite in the Rain pens, but I have a bad habit of losing pens and pencils). I find I write faster in a notebook than on the computer. On the computer, I tend to stare at the screen thinking what would be the best way to write what I want to say. Takes forever, though sources have said I write a very clean first draft. On paper, I just get words down, even writing the same idea multiple ways. Then when I transfer it to the computer, I'm already editing, so yay! It feels productive too, since I get a lot of words on the computer very fast (even if those words took me four months to get in the backcountry).

The problem, my handwriting is atrocious. I can only print, and when I get writing fast enough it becomes a strange cursive/print hybrid. I'm doing the notebook transfer now, and there's some parts where I'm squinting and going, "huh?". I never wrote or read cursive well, even when I had to learn it and write it, and as soon as high school came and I was no longer required to use it I stopped. I remember when I took the GRE test for graduate school there was a paragraph that I had to write in cursive (I think it was something about agreeing to not cheat and I was who I said I am. Not really sure anymore). I had a moment of panic, because I couldn't remember how to do it. I hope no one actually reads those, because mine was completely illegible. Heck, my signature isn't even in cursive.

Layla Nahar
11-03-2017, 09:56 PM
I have terrible handwriting. It's part of why I do my initial work by hand for the most part - unless I concentrate, I can look at the page without actually reading it.

I really value beautiful handwriting, and for a few sentences I can form letters of consistent size, with actual circles & such like, but even then, compared to what some people just do all the time it's not actually beautiful.

I write with (mechanical) pencil. If I change my mind about something, I'll erase. Makes it a bit easier to see what the flow is if I decide to actually read the text.

When I get to putting the text in a digital document (d-doc ;) ) I often just write a new version of the story.

ElaineA
11-03-2017, 10:48 PM
when I get writing fast enough it becomes a strange cursive/print hybrid.

I do the same. My handwriting is decent enough to read, but I've concocted this hybrid--and back-leaning--writing, I *think* because it's speedier. I know it's faster than formal cursive, and writing cursive leaning to the right feels awkward to my hand (even though I'm a righty). The only consistent-looking writing I do is my signature. I still hand write birthday cards for friends and family, and include a handwritten short-something in my Holiday cards, even though it's not lovely-looking. I'm always impressed by people who have perfect handwriting.

My office, kitchen, car and bedroom are littered with paper resources (including a stash of napkins in the car console for when all the notebooks have all disappeared inside.) I like to brainstorm on paper because in my mind it's less permanent. I can test things without committing to them. (Or some brain-wiring lie I tell myself.) I also do a lot of scribbling of ideas and then never look at the pages again, almost like a kind of external-assist filing process for my less-and-less nimble brain. But for writing an actual manuscript by hand? Those days are over. I love the ease of computer deleting too much to ever go back to erasers, pen scratch-outs, or White Out. And my typing fingers keep up with my brain faster and prevent me from overthinking every word and punctuation mark (until later).

Fun thread, btw! It's so interesting to get a peek at other peoples' tools and processes.

Raindrop
11-03-2017, 11:14 PM
Oh yes, ElaineA, it's a great thread!

I have a pile of notebooks. I write with a fountain pen most of the time, because I like how it glides on the page. I'm a sucker for good quality paper, too. I've also switched from a digital diary to a Filofax, after finding an unused, beautiful leather (unbranded) Filo for £2 in a charity shop. I use DodoPad (https://www.dodopad.com/) refills. A bit pricey, but the paper is great and the design is quirky. It's my indulgence.

After a year of using an analog diary, I can say it works a lot better for me than digital ones. I suppose it has something to do with the act of writing on the page; that, or how easy it is to see what's going on in my week. I doubt I'll switch back.

Siri Kirpal
11-03-2017, 11:27 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I write most of my thank you and sympathy cards by hand in cursive. My handwriting's not what it used to be, but is still readable.

I also write handwritten newsy letters to my mother who is suffering vascular dementia and can no longer use a computer, but she can still read.

I'm in the US and do know what a deed box is. They weren't all metal. My husband has one that was sent around the Horn by ship while his however-many-great grandparents took the route across the prairies into Oregon. By the time we got it, it contained a some stock certificates for company no longer in stock and a "receipt book" in the old-fashioned sense of a recipe and home remedy book.

Handwriting is useful writing out quick outlines of chapters and also general writing when the power's out.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Jason
11-03-2017, 11:51 PM
I'm a technical instructor, and often times, when I see blank stares coming at me looking as though I have eight heads, I'll take a dry erase marker to a white board and draw things out with labels to the respective pieces of network Equipment so people can get a better idea of what it is I am trying to explain.

For the past two years, the feedback I have been getting is that people prefer it when I use the white board over the PowerPoint (I hate powerpoints as a general rule - too many professors use them as a crutch and avoid actively teaching imho)

As a result, my writing (and drawing!) skills have actually improved in recent years. If I had to pick up my own penmanship, if Lisa was the poster child of bad penmanship as a kid, then I was her red-headed step brother. I hate cursive and can't even read my own even hours later. I print, and it's picture perfect. But if I switch to cursive, I am horrible.

Give me the digital - any day! :)

regdog
11-04-2017, 01:21 AM
I still use ball point pens. Love them. I write notes on paper and still use and love my corded landline house phone. That will be pried from my cold dead hand. I only use a cellphone when my landline goes down or I need to getr a text code to print coupons.

Xelebes
11-04-2017, 01:38 AM
I'm an accountant by trade so when I write, it is mostly mapping items to other items or otherwise jotting down notes from while I am talking on the phone. My co-workers have said that I write like a computer. Dexterity is an issue and hand-writing is the only thing that my strong hand can do faster than my weak hand. Typically that is a sign of epileptic seizures but. . . nothing on the EEG. I do have a preference for pens. While I have used fountain pens and have honed my craft on them, I still strongly prefer micropoint pens.

PorterStarrByrd
11-04-2017, 01:43 AM
Post-its and a whiteboard on the wall behind me, a whole lot more convenient than searching for where I recorded a thought.

AW Admin
11-04-2017, 01:53 AM
I'm an accountant by trade so when I write, it is mostly mapping items to other items or otherwise jotting down notes from while I am talking on the phone. My co-workers have said that I write like a computer. Dexterity is an issue and hand-writing is the only thing that my strong hand can do faster than my weak hand. Typically that is a sign of epileptic seizures but. . . nothing on the EEG. I do have a preference for pens. While I have used fountain pens and have honed my craft on them, I still strongly prefer micropoint pens.

I love micropoint pens for annotating books; I do this a lot to make teaching easier.

Back in the day, a very fine nibbed fountain pen was called a needle or accountant's nib (http://europeanpaper.com/blog/2012/03/22/finding-the-right-fountain-pen-nib/).

AW Admin
11-04-2017, 01:54 AM
Post-its and a whiteboard on the wall behind me, a whole lot more convenient than searching for where I recorded a thought.

I know a bunch of writers who use post-its to storyboard their writing. Some color code, some don't.

Lots of novelists still use index cards too; it can help to be able to move the card or post-it and see the story arc.

Helix
11-04-2017, 02:17 AM
Ooh! What a great forum!

:e2woo:

Whiteboard for plotting, because I need a big space to create mind maps.

Legal pads for working out what I have to do next.

Hardback notebooks in the early stages of writing: spiral bound for fiction, perfect bound for non-fiction. They are colour-coded, of course.

Moleskine notebooks for travelling, because they're light and durable.

Field Notes for bird-watching.

shakeysix
11-04-2017, 02:28 AM
I am back to teaching, tutoring and translating for a recently arrived high school student who speaks only Spanish. I was given a chrome book to use when taking notes but when I am in class with my student, translating notes in World History, Physical Science, PE--( we are studying how to use a compass with a map right now) and English 1, the Chromebook only screws me up. I have to do the translation with pen and paper. Later, when I have time, I can check my translation with Google Translate but pen and paper are my first resort. I was feeling kind of old dog, new tricks about it, but this forum is comforting. I am doing it my way. The kid, Claudia, mainly relies on Translate.

Now Algebra, es otro costal de harina --a horse of a different color. Maybe because I never really understood it in my own high school experience, maybe because it scares the H out of me, but I can only translate Algebra with internet help. --s6

Kitkitdizzi
11-04-2017, 03:20 AM
I do the same. My handwriting is decent enough to read, but I've concocted this hybrid--and back-leaning--writing, I *think* because it's speedier. I know it's faster than formal cursive, and writing cursive leaning to the right feels awkward to my hand (even though I'm a righty). The only consistent-looking writing I do is my signature. I still hand write birthday cards for friends and family, and include a handwritten short-something in my Holiday cards, even though it's not lovely-looking. I'm always impressed by people who have perfect handwriting.

Interesting. I had to go look--my handwriting is almost straight-up-and-down, with an occasional, very slight left slant.

I'm one of those who will not write holiday cards. Maybe because I don't like getting them. I hate clutter, yet feel that cards are one of those things I shouldn't throw out. Dunno why, so they leave me very conflicted.


I am back to teaching, tutoring and translating for a recently arrived high school student who speaks only Spanish. I was given a chrome book to use when taking notes but when I am in class with my student, translating notes in World History, Physical Science, PE--( we are studying how to use a compass with a map right now) and English 1, the Chromebook only screws me up. I have to do the translation with pen and paper. Later, when I have time, I can check my translation with Google Translate but pen and paper are my first resort. I was feeling kind of old dog, new tricks about it, but this forum is comforting. I am doing it my way. The kid, Claudia, mainly relies on Translate.

The PE class is teaching how to use a compass and map? That's awesome, I thought that was becoming a lost art. I use a map and compass at work, so I can attest it has real-world applications.

Saoirse
11-04-2017, 03:40 AM
My handwriting is horrible. At my former job, my boss used to complain about not being able to read it. When I took dictation, I had my own version of shorthand that I'm pretty sure no one else could decipher.

I read somewhere that for us people using computers for years (and typewriters, I suppose), we will not be able to write well (or legibly) because the brain has been rewired for typing. So there's actually a neurological reason why some people can no longer handwrite legibly!

I use the computer for everything, unless I need to brainstorm. I used to write in journals (from the time I was 11 till I was about 19, then I switched to online journals. Now b/c of a hand injury I can no longer handwrite for more than 10 minutes without pain. :(

lizmonster
11-04-2017, 04:02 AM
Post-its and a whiteboard on the wall behind me, a whole lot more convenient than searching for where I recorded a thought.

I do almost everything on the computer except for timelines. I've got a 9 x 12 lie-flat notebook and Post-Its in five colors. I have to be able to move things around easily, and click-and-drag just doesn't do it for me, no matter how nice your mind mapping software is.

insolentlad
11-04-2017, 03:07 PM
For many years, every first draft was in pencil. I could never take to using a typewriter as I'm not very linear in my writing. Loads of articles, all my poetry, even my first novel—but, bit by bit, I moved to the computer. It's suited to my workflow, it's faster. But I still jot down ideas with paper and pencil when I'm away from my desk. Especially when they come to me in the middle of the night. :)

Lakey
11-04-2017, 04:07 PM
What a lovely and interesting thread.

I am an inveterate hand-writer. I have a brain-pen connection that just doesn't work the same way in type. I can, and often do, compose at the computer, merely for efficiency. But when I get stuck, or when I really want to think expansively about a topic (film review, book review, my novel, or anything else) I sit down with my notebook and pen. When I edit my own work or someone else's, I prefer to print out a copy and do the editing by hand. I am the kind of person who writes notes in the margins of books.

I've been in a rough patch with my novel for the last month or two, and I've been trying to just push through it and get to the end of the first draft - and I have been doing this in ink in my notebook. I can't write at the computer when I am not happy with what I'm writing. It's too easy to kill it, to get bogged down in trying to fix it here, now, instead of moving forward. In the notebook, I can keep going. That sentence wasn't great, but I can fix it later. That paragraph didn't quite do what I wanted it to, but at least its out now, and I can move on to the next one.

It has been working, though I now have about 6000 words in my notebook that I will sooner or later have to type up!

My handwriting is composed of tiny, very uniform block capitals, and I tend to write on fine-line quad rule (graph paper). My notebooks get a lot of comments, at work and when I'm writing anywhere publicly like a cafe. My notebooks and my handwriting are the tidiest thing about me, by a very, very wide margin. (I'm tempted to upload a picture to show it off)

Xelebes
11-04-2017, 11:25 PM
The PE class is teaching how to use a compass and map? That's awesome, I thought that was becoming a lost art. I use a map and compass at work, so I can attest it has real-world applications.

Compass and map are key elements in some rally sports like orienteering.

Snitchcat
11-05-2017, 09:16 AM
Definitely prefer writing by hand when it comes to fiction. Non-fiction varies. However, I write oddly by hand: sometimes forwards, sometimes backwards. Either way, because I'm usually composing in English, I get a lot of stares. Not sure what my audience is thinking: am I showing off, or they're just fascinated by the process? Well, (1) I'm not showing off; I do compose in English and I do naturally right forwards and backwards as the wont takes me. And (2) if they're fascinated, fine, but if the fascination turns into nosiness, they'd better not be the target of my composition (usually ends with me killing them in some fashion, 'cos fiction).

That said, I have writing that slants to the right, is sharp, cursive, and neat. I rather like it. And have received compliments on it from time to time -- from those who actually know me and have seen it, or from strangers who have the courage to get passed the vibe of "leave me alone or regret your intrusion" (deliberate vibe when I'm in a crowd).

Currently, going through a pencil phase. Have been for a few years now. However, if I write in ink, love fountain pen, but a good micro-point gel pen works well, too. Regarding paper, usually narrow ruled for all types of writing. I will use graph paper if I want "precision" in something.

shakeysix
11-05-2017, 03:02 PM
Our PE teacher has the kids out on the football field these chilly mornings with compasses and notebooks, playing something like geocache. At first the kids hated it, but now they are getting into it. The teacher, Mrs. Miller, is old school but younger than I am. She wants the kids to learn about bearings and compasses before gps takes over.

I hadn't made the connection before but 60 years ago, my first grade teacher, a cranky, 60ish nun, thought that ball point pens were a flash in the pan novelty. She insisted that we learn to write cursive with inkwells and steel nib pens. Not fountain pens but the ones that dip into inkwells. The class was called penmanship and we spent an hour or two on it every week. Sister Dalmatia would bring in a phonograph to play soothing music while 29, 7 year old baby boomers scratched away on Big Chief tablets trying to match the examples on the board. She would walk through the aisles checking our output. God forbid our pen hand rested on the paper.

I never used anything but a ball point in any class after that. We thought the whole penmanship thing was a waste of time when I took my teacher ed classes. Later, when I taught college comp I made the class write one 250 word essay with paper and pen, no spellcheck, no typing. I put it in the syllabus! When they bitched I told them that handwriting an essay is a useful skill. Who knows, maybe computers are just a flash in the pan and they will thank me for making them learn this. Sister Dalmatia, Mrs. Miller and me, teaching the past to the future. --s6

insolentlad
11-05-2017, 04:44 PM
I hadn't made the connection before but 60 years ago, my first grade teacher, a cranky, 60ish nun, thought that ball point pens were a flash in the pan novelty. She insisted that we learn to write cursive with inkwells and steel nib pens. Not fountain pens but the ones that dip into inkwells. The class was called penmanship and we spent an hour or two on it every week. Sister Dalmatia would bring in a phonograph to play soothing music while 29, 7 year old baby boomers scratched away on Big Chief tablets trying to match the examples on the board. She would walk through the aisles checking our output. God forbid our pen hand rested on the paper.

I use a dip pen for artwork but do not think I could I write with it very well! We were required to use fountain pens for penmanship class in my Catholic school.

shakeysix
11-05-2017, 07:32 PM
No fountain pens in this class. I think they were too expensive. And maybe because we were only writing letters not sentences. I remember my mom laughing at the school supply list because even she thought dip pens were archaic. The ink was a mess. I was always worried that I didn't have enough. Sadly, I usually had way too much.

From Second grade on we used ballpoint pens and those big, round pencils. I remember a time when ball point pens were expensive, coveted and rare. I lost one of my Dad's once in sixth grade and never heard the end of it. Must be why they are still chained to the desk in the Post Office--another archaic place. --s6

onesecondglance
11-05-2017, 08:34 PM
I do almost everything on the computer except for timelines. I've got a 9 x 12 lie-flat notebook and Post-Its in five colors. I have to be able to move things around easily, and click-and-drag just doesn't do it for me, no matter how nice your mind mapping software is.

Post-its and Sharpies remind me too much of my day job for me, but there's definitely something nice about doing this stuff off-screen. Much more tactile.

Silva
11-05-2017, 10:18 PM
Despite being a Millennial, I grew up writing everything by hand for school and didn't get comfortable with computers until about a decade ago. My schoolwork was boring so I focused a lot on stylizing my handwriting in different ways, developing different ways of doing printing or cursive, etc. People marveled over my handwriting a lot back then.

Once I learned to type, though, that was faster, and I do all my plotting and drafting on word documents where I can just spew it all out in one place and don't have to keep track of bunches of little physical things like notecards or post its or anything. It also feels more private, and I like to keep my writing stuff private from the people I live with.

Now that I'm back in school, I hand write all my lecture notes--and again, they're just all spewed out into one notebook. I also have to write my all labs by hand and those have to be legible for grading purposes. I've noticed that my handwriting isn't as nice as it used to be--mediocre for my labs, terribly illegible for my notes where speed is prioritized--but also in doing the labs, I've gotten better at using precise, succinct language and thinking ahead about what idea I want to express and when and how, because you can't just hit the backspace button when you're writing by hand. This is good practice for organizing my thoughts or ideas into words before trying to commit them to paper, and makes my computer writing better, too.

I generally prefer a mechanical pencil--you can get a good fine point and it's not permanent. But I have to use a pen for labs and that's been a nightmare. For a while I was struggling with a ballpoint pen that wouldn't reliably roll ink on the cover paper, but the pressure was enough for stuff to show up on the carbonless copy. Now I have a pen that rolls ink great, but it's cracked where one part screws to the other and tends to explode into pieces if I squeeze too hard in the wrong place. I really like writing with those micropoint sharpies--the ink is soooo nice and black--but they tend to bleed a bit. Really need to find something that isn't a piece of crap before I go nuts. :tongue

Cath
11-06-2017, 03:58 PM
My handwriting is very unique to me (i.e. barely legible to anyone else) and written with an eye for speed rather than correct letter formation or aesthetics. I love the feel of writing with fountain pens and grew up using Parker Pilots (aka the £5 fountain pens you could pick up in WH Smith), but in the last few years I’ve become increasingly fond of the curved nib on some of the Cross fountain pens.

cbenoi1
11-06-2017, 04:36 PM
So I bought this Microsoft Surface Pro thing. Top-of-the-line. Office 365. The whole nine yards. I use it every day. And yet...

My favorite tools by far are OneNote and the Surface pen. Go figure.

-cb

AW Admin
11-06-2017, 04:49 PM
I really like writing with those micropoint sharpies--the ink is soooo nice and black--but they tend to bleed a bit. Really need to find something that isn't a piece of crap before I go nuts. :tongue

Try a Uni Ball Gel micropoint. They're all over, my local grocery store carries them in black, but read this about micropoint gel pens (https://www.jetpens.com/blog/guide-to-fine-tip-gel-pens/pt/876).

And I really love Kuru Toga mechanical pencils (https://www.amazon.com/uni-ball-KuruToga-Mechanical-Pencil-0-5mm/dp/B0026ICM1E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1509972656&sr=8-3&keywords=kuru+toga&dpID=41%252BwmtR53wL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch); the lead rotates a little every time you lift the point off the paper, so that it is always sharp.

onesecondglance
11-06-2017, 04:56 PM
So I bought this Microsoft Surface Pro thing. Top-of-the-line. Office 365. The whole nine yards. I use it every day. And yet...

My favorite tools by far are OneNote and the Surface pen. Go figure.

-cb

It is a really good stylus. But a bit more expensive than a biro.

Silva
11-07-2017, 11:53 PM
Try a Uni Ball Gel micropoint. They're all over, my local grocery store carries them in black, but read this about micropoint gel pens (https://www.jetpens.com/blog/guide-to-fine-tip-gel-pens/pt/876).

And I really love Kuru Toga mechanical pencils (https://www.amazon.com/uni-ball-KuruToga-Mechanical-Pencil-0-5mm/dp/B0026ICM1E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1509972656&sr=8-3&keywords=kuru+toga&dpID=41%252BwmtR53wL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch); the lead rotates a little every time you lift the point off the paper, so that it is always sharp.

Thank you for the rec and resources. :)

cmhbob
11-08-2017, 12:37 AM
I bought a Kuru Toga from Walmart based on her earlier recommendation. I love it, but after two months, I'm still learning to not rotate the pencil every so often.

Raindrop
11-08-2017, 02:27 AM
I bought a Kuru Toga from Walmart based on her earlier recommendation. I love it, but after two months, I'm still learning to not rotate the pencil every so often.
It's a good habit to keep anyway. It's not like it's going to damage your mechanical pencil! I often draw with a 2mm clutch pencil, and I had to re-learn to rotate this one.

DragonHeart
11-09-2017, 03:16 PM
I don't use analog tools much for my writing and never have, but in the past few years I've gotten back to paper for other things. I've had a lifelong obsession with notebooks anyway, now I'm just finding ways to actually use them.

I currently have 4 notebooks/journals that get use:

The first one is my gaming journal. I actually filled it up and need to pick out a new one, but I still refer back to it often enough. I love to take notes as I play games, so I decided to just start putting all my notes in one place. It's also a neat little history of the games I've played since I started keeping it. I've got I think about a years' worth of gaming in this one notebook, with everything from copied wiki charts to my competitive bred Pokemon teams.

The second one is my bullet journal. I don't use this one as much as I would like to, but it's still an extremely valuable tool for organizing my life. The current notebook I'm using isn't quite a size I would like; it's slightly too small to be comfortable, and I think that's a big part of why I haven't been that dedicated about its use. I'll just upgrade at the end of the year, regardless of whether this one is done or not. It probably will be though since it doesn't have that many pages anyway.

The third one is my work bullet journal. I started my current job in March; I had a free journal given to me by one of my uncles that I brought with me on a whim, and it's quickly become one of the most valuable references not just for me but the whole team. Literally everyone has used it at some point, either for my contact list, general information, or even instructions on how to do various tasks. I haven't been very good about updating it lately, but it still gets used almost daily.

The final one is also the first time I actually bought a journal for a specific purpose, rather than just using whatever I had laying around. It's a nice green hardcover that actually gets used more than my bullet journal. This is my Brazilian Portuguese study journal. I'm learning the language and it's rapidly becoming essentially a personal textbook/reference as I learn. Because the grammar notes are not available on the mobile app, I've taken to writing down the Duolingo lessons in this journal as I go. I find hand writing the notes helps me a lot with retention later, so I don't think it's redundant or a waste of time. It's got a lot more than that in it too. I even plan on asking my Brazilian coworkers/work friends to write notes in it so I can practice translating later; it's definitely going to be a very personal record on top of all the knowledge.

DougR.
11-13-2017, 07:05 PM
I jot notes in a bound notebook, but when it comes to actual writing, it's 100% digital. If computers didn't exist, I wouldn't be writing. Sad, but true. Writing by hand for me is physically painful.

RedRajah
11-13-2017, 07:13 PM
When I act in plays, I always have a notebook & pencil with me to write in between scenes while I'm backstage/in the green room.

CheG
11-14-2017, 08:24 AM
My writing is a combo of cursive and printing. I also use my left hand frequently to save my right hand (which I use for art). And I handwrite ALL my books! Luckily I write Middle Grade so they all hover around 45K or so.

Shadow_Ferret
01-05-2018, 04:29 AM
Wait. wait! What is this? A new forum? Dedicated to analog tools? Count me in! My blog post for today, coincidently, was on relearning cursive. Sorry, I've forgotten how to make a nice link. https://shadowferret.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/relearning-cursive/

I started writing my fiction with a fountain pen exclusively about a decade ago. I write my entire first draft in longhand with a fountain pen.

I've also started collecting fountain pens and only just recently started getting into other inks. So recently, none of them have arrived yet.

Man! I'm stoked! A new forum! Yeah!

Doug Egan
07-07-2018, 03:34 PM
I like a spring action ballpoint pen, whichever one is near at hand. I like the sound of the click. I don't like traditional pens with caps, because I lose the caps and then then when I stow the sharp inky part in my pocket it makes a hole in my pants, or worse.

My family moved at the end of second grade, from a district which had not yet taught curvsive to a district where they had. My mother taught me cursive over the summer. Consequently, my handwriting and cursive alphabet are non-standard. But what does it matter. I write fast, and I'm typically the only one who needs to read it.

I always keep a spiral notebook nearby for writing. When it gets filled, I put it in a box in the attic. I have at lest a hundred of them, the earliest from forty years ago.

When I write for myself, I always start with a handwritten draft. I can't be spontaneous when I type at the computer so even though I might type fast, my creative composition speed grinds to a halt.

When I teach in a classroom, I project typed notes on a screen. Or I have students present their own notes on a whiteboard. These tricks minimize my need to reveal my own flawed handwriting to the class.

OldHat63
08-25-2018, 03:33 PM
I don't write much anymore, except for grocery lists and the like.
I do prefer to use a Flair-type felt-tipped pen for filling out deposit slip and such, and try to keep one on me whenever I'm out and about. My eyes are not what they used to be, so if I have my contacts in, rather than glasses, I need to carry reading glasses...which I usually forget. The felt-tip throws a broad enough line that I can still muddle through even without the readers.

As for handwriting... mine looks like I must've gone to medical school... 'cause only a pharmacist has a chance of decoding it, if I get in a hurry. ( There are times I've picked up something I've written in a hurry, a week later, and had no damned idea what I wrote. ( "The dog's in the refrigerator" What the...??? )

However... in spite my apparent disability with the hand-written word, I can actually draw. And my weapon of choice for that task, for the last nearly-40 years, is a Koh-I-Noor 2mm drafting pencil/lead holder that I got back in the early 80s. I have no idea how many miles of line I've drawn with it, nor how many pounds of graphite I've set to paper. But I know it's a lot, given the number of sketch books I still have laying around.

If I ever get this book I've started completed, it'll be what I use for any illustrations, maps, or charts I might want or need.
Unless they need to be inked, then it'll be a brush and a bottle, after the pencil work.

Kylabelle
01-30-2019, 03:58 AM
Well. See what I missed by disappearing from AW for a couple of years!

I am in good company with my horrid handwriting, I notice. I intend to improve it though.

I prefer gel pens though I have discovered that on any kind of glossy surface, they smear, so I've stocked up on ballpoints as well. And I have a box of number 2 pencils which I also use. Fountain pens and I do not get along; I am way too messy.

I use legal pads 8 1/2 x 11 and also 5 x 8, for all sorts of notes, rough drafts of poems (when I am not composing them in email drafts, which I often do) etc.

Having exorcised Facebook from my life recently, I am finding a natural slowing down is occurring and it sure does feel good. Because of it, I am getting into handwriting correspondence, which I had completely stopped doing, and even stopped writing greeting cards -- online greetings were so easy. But they are not as much fun.

Maryn
01-30-2019, 05:32 PM
I have a fresh problem with the lovely analog tools I bought myself: I am not worthy!

I got a nice pen in a color of ink that pleases me, and a gorgeous blank book when a museum store happened to be having a sale (I got our daughters blank books, too), but I'm... well, afraid isn't the right word, but I hesitate to make use of them. I don't hand write my fiction. When I journal or write a blog post, it's on a keyboard. So what do I use it for that isn't just junk where the steno pad I use for grocery lists would do?

Maryn, not good enough for this fine ink and book

Anne_B
01-31-2019, 03:08 AM
Maryn, I had the same problem bringing myself to handwrite in a nice journal, especially after Bullet Journals came on the scene. Then somewhere, maybe on one of the office supplies blogs, I discovered Write Now: The Getty-Dubay Program for Handwriting Success, a workbook that helped me undo the looped cursive I learned in grade school.

It took me a couple of months of off-and-on evening practice to get through the workbook and I thought I'd never undo the writing habits of 50+ years -- plus I never could get the slant right -- and then all of a sudden, months after I'd finished the workbook, I noticed I was writing grocery lists and freezer labels that were not only legible, they were almost pretty. So I'm ready to tackle the hardbound BuJo as soon as I run out of space in the smaller one I'm using now.

My new! improved! handwriting is a form of cursive italic, not the gorgeous italic that needs a special nib, but a pared-down, speedy-to-use version that works just fine with a mechanical pencil, Sharpie, rollerball, even a standard Bic.

AW Admin
01-31-2019, 04:15 AM
I have a fresh problem with the lovely analog tools I bought myself: I am not worthy!

I got a nice pen in a color of ink that pleases me, and a gorgeous blank book when a museum store happened to be having a sale (I got our daughters blank books, too), but I'm... well, afraid isn't the right word, but I hesitate to make use of them. I don't hand write my fiction. When I journal or write a blog post, it's on a keyboard. So what do I use it for that isn't just junk where the steno pad I use for grocery lists would do?

Maryn, not good enough for this fine ink and book

USE IT

Copy poems you like
Make lists of books you've read and books you want to write
Write notes to yourself to read when you have a hard day
Write in pencil then over-write in pen; let the ink dry and erase

Enjoy. It's yours. For you. Not for anyone else.

I write cursive that is so typical of a dyslexic adult that it's used in textbooks (mostly so other people can read, I print).

So be brave. Enjoy the pen and the paper and the ink.

Maryn
01-31-2019, 05:33 PM
That's probably what I need to hear, to just get over my reluctance and use it. Today I'm bringing it downstairs!

Although the notion of writing pretty cursive is also intriguing...

AW Admin
01-31-2019, 05:44 PM
That's probably what I need to hear, to just get over my reluctance and use it. Today I'm bringing it downstairs!

Although the notion of writing pretty cursive is also intriguing...

Check out the sticky on Handwriting Resources (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?332778-Handwriting-Resources)

Ari Meermans
01-31-2019, 06:05 PM
That's probably what I need to hear, to just get over my reluctance and use it. Today I'm bringing it downstairs!

Although the notion of writing pretty cursive is also intriguing...


Check out the sticky on Handwriting Resources (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?332778-Handwriting-Resources)

My mom had the most beautiful handwriting—gorgeously rendered and thoroughly legible. She taught me cursive before I started school, which is probably why I had such a hard time learning block printing (which I still cannot do well). My teachers also tried valiantly to "cure" me of the cursive style I had learned at Mom's knee. It was Spencerian and even today, while the rest of the script is chicken scratch, the capital letters are often Spencerian. (Reading the sticky reminded me of that and made me giggle.)

Kylabelle
01-31-2019, 06:12 PM
That is a really impressive list of handwriting resources, my goodness!

Today I have two missives to write: a birthday greeting, and my first letter for InCoWriMo. I am excited to be doing this! (Which is kind of strange; I guess it is because it is something entirely different to my usual pattern lately.)

Let's hope I can manage to be legible.

:chores

Kjbartolotta
01-31-2019, 07:04 PM
I had a grandmother who decided I was a righty, so I write with my righty like a lefty. Never got the hang of printing legibly in anything other than block letters (and ended up a tad dyslexic, thx, gma), and my handwriting would make a doctor weep. My job occasionally requires me to write in pretty handwriting, which requires me to stick out my tongue and takes three times as long as it should, plus I hafta make sure I don't smear the whole page while I'm doing.

Me and analog; cool, formal colleagues, but never friends.

Maryn
01-31-2019, 10:48 PM
Lefty-ness has been a contributing factor in my poor handwriting. In college I started using spiral notebooks back to front, writing on the left page rather than the right, but I still smear soft pencil and many inks as my hand moves from left to right. The nice pen I bought is supposed to be a fast dry, so lefties can use them.

Kylabelle
01-31-2019, 11:02 PM
I do not have that excuse. My issue is that even when I begin writing neatly, at some point the thoughts get faster and my hand muscles forget we are not on a keyboard but have to form. each. letter. So I even begin to get letters out of order, rushing to the end of a word, trying to catch up to that ghost of a keyboard my hands are used to.

So, practice will resolve this, I trust.

moon&stars
02-01-2019, 12:38 AM
Howdy all! Maybe I can get some help here. I haven't been able to get into the chat for weeks! Is it me, or the chat? I use Mibbit, and usually type 194.206.104.208 for the server, then my screenname in the proper field, and then #absolutewrite. I must be doing something wrong!!!


edited: 2/1 Woo hooooo! Never mind. I figured it out! Thanks anyway :)